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Neil Tolentino bringing his attitude to greener pastures in DLSU

Colegio de San Juan de Letran was the most pleasant surprise for all of the NCAA Juniors Basketball Tournament a year ago. Expected to be rebuilding, the Squires instead fought hard each and every game and found themselves as the unlikely third-seed in the playoffs. The leader of that scrappy squad was, without a doubt, Neil Tolentino. While his per game counts of 11.3 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 2.2 assists while tirelessly playing 28.1 minutes did not jump out at anybody, it was his intangibles that made him a valuable piece of that contending team. The 6-foot swingman will never be the strongest, fastest, or most skilled, but he will also never be beaten out in terms of heart and hustle. That attitude now makes him a much welcome addition in the new era in De La Salle University. Tolentino revealed to ABS-CBN Sports on Thursday that he has chosen to continue his career in Taft Avenue. “Sa La Salle na po ako maglalaro. Gusto kong makatulong sa kanila dun,” he said. His never back down attitude has always been his calling card from his time in Nazareth School of National University and then to his transfer to Letran. With that, he has gotten inside the heads of the likes of Aljun Melecio, Jolo Mendoza, Evan Nelle, and Clint Escamis. Now, defensive stopper Tolentino will be teaming up with offensive dynamo Melecio to help Louie Gonzalez in his first year as head coach. And so, the Taft-based team should only expect to get a whole lot of attitude. As Tolentino put it, “Yung tapang, ‘di naman nawawala sa sarili yun e. Dadalhin ko yun saan man ako pupunta.” --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnApr 19th, 2018

Canada’s $1B mushroom trade needs 700 pickers

Pinoys most preferred because of ethics, knowledge, attitude TORONTO CITY, Ontario, Canada -- Over 700 jobs as mushroom pickers or harvesters with a conservative monthly salary of P100,000 to P150,000 await Filipinos in search of greener pastures in Canada. This as People’s Tonight learned that Filipinos are the most sought….....»»

Category: newsSource:  journalRelated NewsApr 10th, 2018

UAAP 80 Volleyball s Greatest Hits (so far)

We're right in the middle of the thrilling UAAP season 80 volleyball tournament, and while fans are all being treated to one of the most exciting seasons in recent memory, they are also being continuously entertained by some of the wackiest celebrations and on-court snippets that make watching the matches all the more fun. Along with the latest highlights, we also make it our mission to provide those fun and light moments that are probably as important when enjoying the UAAP experience. Let's take a look at the wackiest and most iconic moments and bloopers from the  UAAP volleyball season so far, in GIF form, of course. From botched high-fives, epic and controversial celebrations, moments of swag, and just general fun, here are the UAAP volleyball's greatest hits (so far).   Rare clip of DLSU coach Ramil De Jesus smiling (kind of) Coach RDJ spotted! #UAAPSeason80Volleyball pic.twitter.com/1yGd4IBoiO — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) March 10, 2018 UP Lady Maroons celebrating each small victory  Cailing's ace takes set 1 for UP! #UAAPSeason80Volleyball pic.twitter.com/r6lo1iTvM1 — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) March 10, 2018 Mylene Paat showing her inner Wakandian Mylene Paat is coming alive! Adamson takes the 16-7 lead over UP in set 2! #UAAPSeason80Volleyball pic.twitter.com/GGkvSM5iT8 — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) March 10, 2018 Chiara Permentilla's sweet-faced assasin smile  Adamson restores order, taking Set 2 over UP, 25-14! UAAPSeason80Volleyball pic.twitter.com/EscapyY66p — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) March 10, 2018 UP Fightin Maroon Paul Desiderio inspires to Lady Maroons to go #AtinTo Paul Desiderio in the house for UP vs AdU! 👀 #AtinToPapasokTo #UAAPSeason80Volleyball pic.twitter.com/7Pni9wSnhu — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) March 10, 2018 Adamson head coach Airess Padda representing all of us after all of those five-set matches These five-setters got us like pic.twitter.com/G7s1dpahS8 — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) March 10, 2018 Des Cheng keeping the DLSU swag alive and well with her finger-gun celebration 2-0 lead now for La Salle! #UAAPSeason80Volleyball pic.twitter.com/42LLXOcaEB — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) March 10, 2018 Ateneo Blue Eagles showing unity after another win Ateneo Blue Eagles improve to an 8️⃣-1️⃣ slate after dropping Adamson in straight sets! #UAAPSeason80Volleyball pic.twitter.com/HxvIWTta55 — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) March 14, 2018 Bryan Bagunas breaking out the flex after a dominant outing for National U. 7th straight win for the NU Bulldogs 💪 #UAAPSeason80Volleyball pic.twitter.com/tOctm3Ddg1 — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) March 14, 2018 Des Cheng back at it with the celebratory finger pointing! (To her teammate, of course) Des Cheng is on-point early against UP. DLSU leads, 14-8 in Set 1. #UAAPSeason80Volleyball pic.twitter.com/IReiUbrVHO — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) March 14, 2018 Tin Tiamzon and Dawn Macandili showing that good teammates take the fall for each other Tin Tiamzon with an accurate representation of what Wednesdays are like 😫 pic.twitter.com/1MDbgxIFWy — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) March 14, 2018 Bea De Leon letting out an intense roar after scoring against their rivals. BDL lets out a loud roar after a hard-earned point 😤 #UAAPSeason80Volleyball pic.twitter.com/IYvmk4sUx9 — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) March 4, 2018 Yup, Desiree Cheng once more, this time breaking out the Michael Jordan shrug  La Salle holds off UP's brave rally to take the 2-0 lead! ¯backslash_(ツ)_/¯ #UAAPSeason80Volleyball pic.twitter.com/ovP1W04wEF — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) March 14, 2018 Milena Alessandrini completely shuts down Sisi Rondina's high-five attempt. Ouch. Why'd you do Sisi like that, Milena? 😭😂 #UAAPSeason80Volleyball pic.twitter.com/ysVRRBukZQ — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) March 14, 2018 FEU's Czarina Carandang showing a different type of swag that she got from former Lady Tamaraw Rem Palma Czarina Carandang is HYPED after a strong hit! 😂 #UAAPSeason80Volleyball pic.twitter.com/Vimvdcl1Pz — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) March 14, 2018 Meanwhile, here's UE interim head coach Rod Roque and Adamson men's volleyball mentor Domeng Custodio sharing a warm embrace UE interim head coach Rod Roque and Adamson head coach Domeng Custodio share a light moment after the match. #UAAPSeason80Volleyball pic.twitter.com/LuFuMA7DGN — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) March 4, 2018 Sisi Rondina looking pumped dangerous as she heats up Sisi Rondina leading UST's rally! WE ARE TIED at 22! #UAAPSeason80Volleyball pic.twitter.com/CLV3ejLbII — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) March 14, 2018 Just an Adamson Soaring Falcon joking with one of his coaches 😂 #UAAPSeason80Volleyball pic.twitter.com/2RNu8W7C0L — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) March 17, 2018 Blue Eagles coach Oliver Almadro being his energetic and passionate self  Coach O is hyped after that Set 1 win by Ateneo! #UAAPSeason80Volleyball pic.twitter.com/0jmOGvwwBl — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) March 17, 2018 Sisi Rondina once more, bringing out those fighter jet wings SISI IS BACK 🔥 #UAAPSeason80Volleyball pic.twitter.com/yZ2VvN2c1u — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) March 17, 2018 ...And basically being an extremely GIF-able character When you get blocked pero may sumigaw ng "selfie!!" #UAAPSeason80Volleyball pic.twitter.com/8Uf4Z15PCn — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) March 17, 2018 Speaking of characters, here's Ponggay Gaston being happy happy, as always Ponggay is HYPED! #UAAPSeason80Volleyball pic.twitter.com/49dTSUF3s0 — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) March 17, 2018 ...And being more than just a player: Ponggay Gaston: Hitter ✓ Libero ✓ Singer ✓ Dancer ✓ #UAAPSeason80Volleyball pic.twitter.com/XG5T8K8s3c — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) March 7, 2018 Maddie: We're in the middle of a game, act cool Ponggay: pic.twitter.com/fCxplwxGeD — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) March 7, 2018 Here's Bea De Leon being pumped up after her masterful block party 3️⃣ STRAIGHT BLOCKS by BDL! #UAAPSeason80Volleyball pic.twitter.com/RGyYbSwLpq — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) March 17, 2018 UE Red Warrior Geric Ortega performs a little running man dance after stunning UST in a set UE draws first blood vs UST! #UAAPSeason80Volleyball pic.twitter.com/KCQRZbkThl — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) March 18, 2018 UE Lady Warrior Shaya Adorador is feeling good after scoring a couple of wins The UE Lady Warriors supporting their men's team! #UAAPSeason80Volleyball pic.twitter.com/LaVVpsjKQZ — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) March 18, 2018 UST's Jayvee Sumagaysay just brushing off his opponents after taking over a set Can't keep a Tiger down, says Jayvee Sumagaysay #UAAPSeason80Volleyball pic.twitter.com/qK6fBW5vaR — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) March 18, 2018 Here's Judith Abil running and smiling hysterically after taking a set UE takes Set 1 over Adamson!!! #UAAPSeason80Volleyball pic.twitter.com/1iqBsoMfZl — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) March 18, 2018 UE star libero Kath Arado showing her heart by dusting off an injury scare to continue playing Kath Arado, ladies and gentlemen! 🙏 #UAAPSeason80Volleyball pic.twitter.com/MhJGkm3qpY — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) March 18, 2018 Des Cheng just nonchalantly celebrates a point with her teammates DLSU Lady Spikers strike first! #UAAPSeason80Volleyball pic.twitter.com/AtxSEkNuyx — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) March 18, 2018 Judith Abil showing all of us that she's excited for Bb. Pilipinas  Queen Abil is excited for #BbPilipinas2018! 😂 pic.twitter.com/0tKzb8cyri — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) March 18, 2018 Here's FEU head coach George Pascua venting his frustrations Things are getting too close for comfort 😳 #UAAPSeason80Volleyball pic.twitter.com/sm4SkdUrZK — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) February 28, 2018 Carly Hernandez fanning herself for dropping all those service aces Carly Hernandez is feeling it! #UAAPSeason80Volleyball pic.twitter.com/Pg3gWPze3j — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) March 18, 2018 Toni Rose Basas showing off some hidden swag with this pretty rad slow-cap celebration FEU fights back! WE ARE TIED, 1-1! #UAAPSeason80Volleyball pic.twitter.com/tLaO3b3dYO — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) March 18, 2018 Michelle Cobb's electrifying, albeit infamous celebration after blocking Kat Tolentino Michelle Cobb already has that signature La Salle swag 😎 #UAAPSeason80Volleyball pic.twitter.com/dE8006uy1f — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) March 4, 2018 Dawn Macandili's RIDICULOUS football save!  Dawn Macandili is on a different level 😳 #UAAPSeason80Volleyball pic.twitter.com/QUsKkJ2RzO — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) March 18, 2018 Des Cheng's roar after helping DLSU stay alive vs FEU DLSU STAYS ALIVE! #UAAPSeason80Volleyball pic.twitter.com/rIT9ZgQ8nw — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) March 18, 2018 Respect from one UAAP-great to another.  💯 pic.twitter.com/sHAd2dV0gv — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) March 18, 2018 What's your favorite "hit" from the season so far?.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 20th, 2018

The five Super Moms behind your favorite athletes

The saying goes “For every great man, there is a great woman.” This holds true in the world of sports, where athletes lean on their moms during their development, through their success, and beyond. Remember when NBA superstar Kevin Durant of the Golden State Warriors received the MVP award for the 2013-2014 season? He offered his award to his mom for her dedication in bringing him up the right way. In the Philippines, our local athletes also cherish their mom as much as they cherish their wins and accolades. Let’s take a look at five super moms who have been caught by S+A’s cameras supporting their children game in and game out.   1.) Mozzy Ravena   But the plan is to show you that i understand. You are appreciated. . . . . . . Happy mother’s day @ravenamozzy ! A post shared by Kiefer Ravena (@kieferravena15) on May 12, 2018 at 4:39pm PDT Mozzy Ravena is always there for her kids. Mozzy Ravena is probably the most prominent sporting mom S+A has caught. Not only is she a former star for the UST Golden Tigresses, she is also the mom of the Ravena siblings who have made a mark in their respective UAAP sports. Kiefer, Thirdy, and Dani Ravena surely have one heck of a super mom that never tire from cheering them on and lecturing them about what it takes to be an ultimate athlete. When Ateneo plays, everyone is sure that Tita Mozzy will be there for her kids.   2.) Lydia De Vega-Mercado Former Filipina super sprinter and national track team mainstay Lydia De Vega-Mercado made sure to support daughter Stephanie's volleyball dream. The former national sprinter, who was considered the fastest woman in Asia during her heydays in the ‘80s, is also the mother of former star DLSU Lady Spiker and current Petro Gazz Angel Stephanie Mercado. While her daughter did not follow in her footsteps and pursued volleyball instead of athletics, it did not stop her from showing up in her Paneng’s games and celebrated her championships as if she just won in a World Championship for the 100m dash.   3.) Susan Teng     Congrats @jeronalvinteng for winning your second championship and being the finals mvp! Great way to end your college career! 👍 A post shared by jeric teng (@tengjeric) on Dec 7, 2016 at 4:21am PST Susan Teng is all out when it comes to supporting her sons during their collegiate careers, never mind that they went to different schools.  When it comes to former UAAP stars and brothers, Jeron and Jeric Teng, their father Alvin is mentioned more being a former professional basketball player. However, as much as the Teng brothers credit their dad for their love and development in the sport, they also heap as much love to their mother Susan, who has been with them every step of the way, starting to when they were still small basketeers.   4.) Pablita Valdez Pablita Valdez made a big decision in letting her precious Alyssa travel to Manila and embark on a journey towards volleyball stardom. Before her daughter even became a national sensation, Pablita, who was a teacher in Batangas, believed that Alyssa was in store for great things when she started playing volleyball. It is that belief that made her decide to bring the younger Valdez to Manila where she can hone her talent and play in tougher situations and competition. That decision has paid off in spades as the volleyball phenom was born and her star’s ascent was meteoric. Every step of the way, Mama Pablita was there for her and we couldn’t thank her enough for giving us an excellent and much-loved star.   5.) Marilyn Mollena It took them 13 years to be together, but for every spike and score, Marilyn Mollena was on the mind of the Lady Beast, Grethcel Soltones.  Mommy Marilyn was the reason why Grethcel Soltones became the “Lady Beast.” Young Grethcel decided to play volleyball during her formative years as she searched for her mom. She thought that it was the easiest avenue to meet her mother after 13 years if she played and got broadcast on TV. She soon got her wish for on her last year with the San Sebastian Lady Stags when Marilyn surprised the Lady Beast during the individual awarding ceremonies and the whole nation even got to witness the touching reunion on TV.    Catch more super moms and also super dads on ABS-CBN S+A as it continues to champion Filipino athletes and sports development through the coverage of sports events and the airing of inspiring features on teams and athletes. For more information and stories, visit ABS-CBN’s sports hub sports.abs-cbn.com and follow us on Facebook and Twitter......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 13th, 2018

UAAP VOLLEYBALL: Final test for DLSU’s Big 3

It was Game 4 of the UAAP Season 76 Women's Volleyball Finals. A monstrous 21,314-strong crowd filled the Mall of Asia Arena, rocking the three-year-old state-of-the art venue in Pasay City. A do-or-die match for the four-peat-seeking De La Salle University, which a few weeks ago was the favorite to go all the way, make a flawless title run in the women’s volleyball tournament following a 14-0 sweep of the elimination round. They only needed two wins. The Lady Spikers held a thrice-to-beat advantage. They could’ve had won it all the game before. But a young and hungrier Ateneo de Manila University led by a third-year hitter in Alyssa Valdez and piloted by a newly-appointed Thai coach spoiled their run late in the fifth set. Then it all came to one final battle for the crown. Graduating Aby Marano, a feisty and vocal leader, tried to rally her teammates. DLSU was down two sets to none. Rookie Kim Kianna Dy was deployed for the first time in the series as a substitute. With her was another rookie, libero Dawn Macandili, her high school teammate at De La Salle Zobel. On the bench, freshman middle Majoy Baron, a recruit from Baguio City National High School, looked at her teammates as the Lady Eagles reached their 25th point. Tears fell almost simultaneously as the final whistle blew. DLSU lost their three-year throne. It was second stringer Baron, reserve libero Macandili and benchwarmer Dy’s first taste of the championship round. It was bitter. It was painful. They vowed for revenge the following season. But the aftertaste of that defeat lingered up until Season 77.      CHANGE OF FORTUNE   The trio under the guidance of head coach Ramil De Jesus were molded into legit stars in just three years. They finally earned the trust of the mentor, the architect of DLSU’s success the past two decades. Before Season 78, the Lady Spikers joined the Philippine Superliga under the Meralco banner during the off-season. There they became the whipping girls of the tournament, finishing fifth in the six-team field. But it was De Jesus’ way to strengthen the Lady Spikers’ minds and develop their skills. In order to build a strong team, he had to make them feel defeat. The trio of Macandili, Baron and Dy benefited from all of these. They had the weapons this time around against Ateneo in the bitter rivals’ fourth straight championship installment. Macandili’s floor defense was superb, Baron was a solid net defender alongside a graduating Mika Reyes. And Dy, the opposite who only saw action on borrowed playing time in Season 76, made her presence felt in the most important three games of the season. Dy brought down on its knees the mighty Ateneo with an average of 17 points per game in the Finals that went the full distance and earned the Finals Most Valuable Player award. Macandili won the Best Receiver and Best Digger honors while Baron was named Best Blocker. They gave the ‘Big Three of Reyes’, Ara Galang and Cyd Demecillo a fitting farewell gift. As they bid adieu to the trio, it was the time for Macandili, Baron and Dy to fit in to the shoes of DLSU’s new ‘Big Three’. SHINING MOMENT Season 79 became the litmus test for the three. DLSU lost most of its veterans save for graduating setter Kim Fajardo while hitter Desiree Cheng just came back from an ACL tear injury. The trio needed to step up. Most of the pressure was on Macandili’s shoulder. Before the start of the season, the five-foot Tanuan, Batangas defense specialist was named PSL All-Filipino Conference MVP as the DLSU-backed F2 Logistics ruled the tournament on June 2016. However, the Lady Spikers encountered a bumpy road in the UAAP, losing three games in the elims. Two against Ateneo. But it didn’t deter the three volleybelles from doing their part to carry the team back into the Finals against the Lady Eagles. It was the trio’s shining moment. Bringing in the experience, confidence and the signature swag, the Lady Spikers steamrolled past the Ateneo in two games to cap a successful season that saw Baron win the coveted Season MVP plum for her undeniable efficiency the whole tournament long. Baron was the first DLSU player to win the highest individual honor since Marano and Galang shared the award in Season 75. FINAL TEST “Iba ’yung pressure na kailangan mong buhatin ang team kasi last playing year mo na.” This was how Macandili described Season 80. Now playing on her last year, Macandili, like the rest of the ‘Big Three’ wanted to leave a winning legacy. “Siyempre gusto mong maging maganda ang exit mo and para sa team din na ma-achieve ang goal naming,” added Macandili, who a few months back was awarded as Asia’s Second Best libero during the AVC Asian Senior Women’s Volleyball Championship. “Nandoon din ang takot na last playing year mo na and hindi mo na mababalikan ‘to. Ayoko namang mag-exit na may regrets.”   The Lady Spikers advanced to the Finals for the tenth straight year and are on the brink of handing De Jesus his third career grand slam and DLSU’s 11th overall crown after taking down Far Eastern University in straight sets in Game 1. “Siguro this is our chance to bring back the three-peat and siyempre lahat ng sacrifices namin, lahat ng pinaghirapan namin, ito na 'yung final test namin,” said Dy. One last push to return the trust and confidence given by de Jesus. “We want to show coach na sa five years naman dito, these are the players that you produced. We want to honor him,” added Dy. Baron, for her part, wanted to fulfill a promise she made before the start of the season. To keep DLSU’s winning tradition. “Ayaw kong masira 'yung record ni coach. Kaya as much as possible, parang sobrang nabilib din ako sa sistema niya at mga seniors ko before, parang ayaw ko na puputulin ko 'yung history na ginagawa nila sa time ko ngayon,” she said. “Personally, 'yun ang motivation ko.” On Wednesday, Macandili, Baron and Dy could be playing their last games as Lady Spikers. The Big Three could be making their final bow. A last chance to join their teammates in forming a circle, kneeling and posing with an arm stretched while the other bent imitating an archer ready to release a flaming final arrow.   Three more DLSU players will be leaving the lair of the Lady Spikers. A trio that gave everything they got for five fruitful and colorful years. People, for sure, will be talking about their stints for the green and white for years. The stories of their ups and downs. The glory that they made together.   But for Baron, Macandili and Dy, it was the honor of playing for La Salle under the great Ramil De Jesus that will be their most cherished college memories.     ---   Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 1st, 2018

San Beda dismantles Gilas Cadets in 21-point blowout

San Beda University ripped apart a disorganized Gilas Cadets side with a punishing 91-70 blowout win Sunday to bounce back from a previous setback in Group A of the 12th FilOil Flying V Preseason Cup at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan. The Red Lions bared their teeth right from the get-go to bury the Asian Games-bound national team early and cruised to their second win in three outings. “My boys played today. I challenged them today that the character of the team will be tested, on how we will comeback after that loss against Ateneo,” said San Beda coach Boyet Fernandez, whose wards played their last game before flying to Miami, Florida next week for their US training. James Canlas led the Red Lions, who will back in the tournament on June 1 against University of the Philippines, with 16 points while Jeramer Cabanag had 15. Donald Tankoua finished with a double-double with 13 points and 13 rebounds while Javee Mocon had eight markers and 10 boards for San Beda.          The Red Lions ballooned their lead to 78-47 off a fastbreak layup from Calvin Oftana with 6:28 left in the game. Gilas tried to mount a rally that came a little too late, bringing their deficit down to 80-62 with 4:01 left off a Ricci Rivero slam dunk. But San Beda answered with a couple of baskets to quell the run and walk away with a morale-boosting win. National University Bullpup Carl Tamayo spearheaded the Gilas Cadets with 13 points while Kobe Paras and JJ Alejandro chipped in with 11 markers each.   Box scores: San Beda (91) – Canlas 16, Cabanag 15, Tankoua 13, Mocon 8, Soberano 8, Oftana 7, Carino 5, Tongco 5, Presbitero 4, Eugene 4, Abuda 2, Cuntapay 2, Mocon Ju 2, Bahio 0, Burri 0, Abadeza 0. Gilas  (70) – Tamayo 13, Paras 11, Alejandro 11, Rivero Ri 9, Tolentino Ar 7, Ambohot 7, Tuffin 4, Gozum 4, Tratter 2, Desiderio 2, Gomez de Liano Ju 0, Rivero Pr 0, Tolentino Vi 0.   Quarter scores: 20-15; 45-30; 67-43; 91-70.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 29th, 2018

Ateneo s Fab 5: The Fearless Underdogs of UAAP Volleyball

Newly-appointed head coach Roger Gorayeb looked at his line-up heading into UAAP Season 71. A champion mentor of NCAA powerhouse San Sebastian College - Recoletos, Gorayeb had in his hands a gargantuan task of rebuilding Ateneo de Manila University women’s volleyball program. Just a few months before, Ronald Dulay, the mentor before him landed a trio of blue chip recruits who were fresh from a successful stint in the Palarong Pambansa. Angeline "Dzi" Gervacio, Fille Saint Cainglet and Jamenea "Jem" Ferrer just joined the Katipunan-based squad. Gervacio and Cainglet were products of St. Scholastica's College in Manila while Ferrer was a gem from Hope Christian School under girl’s volleyball guru Jerry Yee. Looking at his 15-woman line-up with the season just a few months ahead, Gorayeb knew he needed to do something drastic. The roster just won’t do. Talking to then athletic director Ricky Palou and team manager Tony Boy Liao, the mentor told the team officials that he intended to cut five players from the list. One could just imagine the shock in their faces. “Nakita ko may line-up pero player-playeran lang yung ganoon bang tipo, 15 ata yun. Sabi ko ‘Magtatanggal ako ng lima then magre-recruit ako,’” he said. The three rookies were in. Middle Bea Pascual, Kara Acevedo and libero Steph Gabriel retained their spots. He needed more. “Sa mga tinira kong players, si Kara Acevedo sabi niya, ‘Coach mayroong player ang ICA (Immaculate Conception Academy) na gumraduate naka-exam na rito pasado.’ Sabi ko, ‘Sige papuntahin mo,’” said Gorayeb. It was Gretchen Ho. “Sa akin kasi ang talagang nagyaya sa akin si coach Ron Dulay. Si Kara Acevedo teammate ko and she’s been recruited by Ateneo. So one summer wala akong magawa naki-train lang ako noon tapos nagustuhan nila ang laro ko and then fourth year noong graduate na ako I passed the ACET then niyayaya na nila ako,” she said. “Then nagbago ng coach na si Coach Roger and dun niya ako nakita.”   “Pagdating ko ng March (sa Ateneo) wala na akong way para maka-recruit pa. Ang nangyari yung tatlo accepted na kaagad. Si Gretchen tinanong ko sabi ko, ‘ano ba ang laro mo?’ Sabi niya the usual panggitna, tres,” Gorayeb recalled. “So sinubukan ko pero ang laro niya tres hindi quick. Siya panggitna pero hindi quicker na gusto ko saka yung height niya (maliit). Kaya lang si Gretchen takbo ng takbo, mahilig magtatakbo so sabi ko sige pwede na yan. Wala namang player na during that time. So kinuha ko si Gretchen.” Gorayeb just needed just one more. “Ngayon nagkaroon ng STCAA (Southern Tagalog Calabarzon athletic association) eh kulang pa ako ng isa, wala akong panggitna. Ang gitna ko during that time si Bea lang tapos si Gretchen so wala akong pamalit. So naisipan ko may nakita ako sa STCAA,” he said. He spotted a lanky player from Canossa Academy-Lipa, Aillysse Nacachi. “Sabi ko kay Sir Tony pagtyagaan ko na lang ito kahit hindi naman kalakasan at wala naman na rin akong choice na makapili kasi rush ang pagdating ko dyan. Nakiusap lang sila sa akin na magbuo ako ng team kasi si Ronald nag-resign,” said Gorayeb. Another freshman could’ve had ended up with Ateneo, Hope’s libero Melissa Gohing. But a few obstacles prevented her from fulfilling her promise to join Ferrer in Ateneo. She instead chose to join the ladies in green and white in Taft.    SOMETHING PROMISING December 7, 2008. Far Eastern University Gym. Excitement filled the air. Fans, mostly volleyball purists and some who just came to support their classmates or were just curious to see a new spectacle after the basketball season ended, slowly settled in their seats for the women’s division’s second game. It was Adamson University, the previous year’s runner-up, which just visited the turf of their arch nemesis and defending champion FEU, which was led by that era’s finest and most popular volleybelle Rachel Anne Daquis. Fans wanted to see if the Lady Falcons still had the same firepower they had the previous season with the loss of top setter Janet Serafica and power hitter Sang Laguilles. A rookie-laden Ateneo squad should be easy pickings with Angela Benting, rookie Pau Soriano and libero Lizlee Anne Gata in the roster. Besides the Lady Falcons got the Lady Eagles’ number. Or so they thought. “Naalala ko nu’ng time namin sinasabi sa amin ng seniors namin na, ‘Hay naku ang lakas ng Adamson, never kami nanalo dyan,’” Cainglet, now happily married to film director Lino Cayetano and with three beautiful children, recalled.  But the Lady Eagles stunned Adamson in the opening set. The Lady Falcons took the next two frames. Ateneo stole the fourth.  “Ako naalala ko ano eh, parang alam namin na lahat kasi kami palaban. Nasa amin yun. Tapos binigyan kaming lahat ng chance to be in the first six so parang dream come true,” said Ho, now an ABS-CBN host. “Naalala ko rin na palaban kaming lahat kumbaga nothing to lose eh so ang ano namin, sumasabay kami sa laro and nu’ng nakita na namin na ‘Ay kaya pala natin ‘to guys. Kaya pala naming lumaban.’” Still, Adamson had the upper hand in experience. The Lady Falcons, used to pressure and were steady at crunch time, outlasted Ateneo.           The young Katipunan-based squad fell short, 25-22, 22-25, 15-25, 25-15, 8-15. But for the Fab 5, it was a loss that felt like a resounding victory. “Parang sobrang natutuwa kami and everybody in the crowd, kaya siguro kami natawag na Fab 5 kasi rookies kami pero kahit ganoon palaban kami,” said Ho. “Saka close game. Five sets yun.” However, it was the first of five five-set matches that Ateneo will drop that season including one in the second round against the Manilla Santos-bannered De La Salle University. “Pero ang problema di kami nananalo ng five sets. Parang ilan lang ang naipanalo namin na ganoon. Feeling ko na-overwhelm kami na ‘Uy nananalo tayo.’ May ganoong disbelief ng konti pero alam namin na may ibubuga kami,” said Ho. “Definitely, our rookie season was full of five-set matches. It was tough, we felt like we were so close, but still so far away. At some point, it gave us frustration also. We just couldn't figure out that time what is it that's still lacking because we couldn't win the five-set matches,” according to Nacachi. “People said, it was because the team was still so inexperienced. We still didn't have the tenacity unlike of those more matured teams. But we didn't take it as bad, it was a learning experience for us all at the end. We had to learn how to develop that finishing will to be able to win games like that in the future.” The Fab 5 finished their rookie season with a 6-8 slate at fifth spot.   ‘MAY MEDAL NA TAYO’ Gorayeb remembered on their second year the look on Pascual’s face in their last elimination game match against Adamson. Already wrapping up their first win over the Lady Falcons, Pascual was giddy. “Natatawa nga ako dyan kay Bea kasi papanalo na kami nu’n tapos sumesenyas na siya ng tres. Sabi ko, ‘Hoy anong ginagawa mo?’ Yun pala sobrang saya na niya kasi for the first time in 30 years magkaka-medal na sila,” he said. It was the most important match of the season for the Lady Eagles. With the Fab 5 already in their sophomore year, Ateneo was already making great strides. The Lady Eagles closed that season’s elims with five straight wins capped with a victory over Adamson. Ateneo posted a 10-4 win-loss mark to enter the Final Four legitimately. “Ang nangyari kasi nu’ng time nila Charo (Soriano) kaya sila nakapasok sa semis kasi may nag-squeal na si (Jacq) Alarca di pala naka-enroll nu’n kaya na-forfeit mga laro ng La Salle,” said Gorayeb. The Fab 5 proved that they were not just a bunch of much-hyped up pretty faces. They backed it up with their skills on court. It didn’t matter that Ateneo were swept by eventual champion University of Sto. Tomas in the Final Four.      But the podium finish of Season 72 was short-lived. Adamson got its revenge in the last game of Season 73 elims, bumping off the Lady Eagles in the podium finish. The loss put Ateneo in a collision course with the twice-to-beat DLSU, who could’ve completed an elims sweep if not only for a forfeited match against University of the East after UAAP found out that Carmela Garbin and Clarisse Yeung participated in a ‘ligang labas’ while the season was onoing, in the Final Four. Ateneo gave the Lady Spikers a scare before succumbing in another heartbreaking five-set match. The Lady Eagles finished fourth but that lone semis game gave Ateneo and its maturing Fab 5 enough experience to dream for something big – A ticket into the Finals.      ‘HINOG NA KAYO’ The first three years saw the gradual improvement for Ateneo. But Season 74 proved to be the turning point for the Fab 5. A fresh new recruit from University of Sto. Tomas high school, who just completed a year of residency, came into picture and with the Fab 5 armed with years of experience, the Lady Eagles’ fate will forever be changed. Alyssa Valdez, a highly recruited open spiker just like Gervacio, Cainglet-Cayetano and Ferrer years back, gave renewed excitement for the Ateneo faithful. “Alyssa's joining with Ateneo was a great turning point for us. We needed as much support we can get, and Alyssa's entrance to the team was a great boost to the team's morale,” said Nacachi. “The girl is a powerhouse and we felt like with her presence, the team finally became solid.” “We were able to play around with the positions and the rotations, since we had different versatile open players who can also greatly play other roles,” she added. “We were also able to formulate a lot of plays and attacks because Alyssa can generally do all kinds; open, running, quick, name it all. She gave the team the power and the versatility that we previously lacked from the past seasons.” Social media was just gaining traction then but the Lady Eagles were already on the radar of volleyball purists through online forums. For the first time, Ateneo was considered a legitimate contender.   The Fab 5 proved it by winning 11 games in the elimination round, losing only to UST once and dropping two against the Lady Spikers. Valdez’s arrival gave Ferrer an even broader option on offense. It eased the scoring load off the shoulders of Cainglet and Gervacio, who was then moved to an opposite position. “I guess sakto lang din yung dating niya because by that time Kara Acevedo graduated so someone had to fill in her spot so coach Roger decided for me to move to utility or opposite,” said Gervacio. “And then sakto Alyssa naman could fill in the spot na other open spiker.” “So timing din na we had all the pieces put together at the right time,” she added. With a good performance in the elims despite missing a legit middle in Bea Pascual and the entry of Aerieal Patnongon barred by academic problems, Ateneo finished second and for the first-time was armed with a twice-to-beat advantage in the stepladder semifinals. The Lady Eagles faced an experienced Tigresses side in the last stepladder semis stage. UST just came from a hard-fought four-set do-or-die match against FEU and were banking on their four-set win over Ateneo in the second round to force another sudden death. Ateneo’s date with destiny was sealed with a four-set win over the Tigresses, who then bid goodbye to Maika Ortiz and Judy Anne Caballejo. “Pinu-push na rin kami ni Coach Roger noon eh, ‘Hinog na kayo ngayon. Kasi dalawang taon na lang, kailangan makapasok na kayo sa Finals,’” said Ho. “Somehow senior na rin kami,” added Cainglet.  “Season 74 was really the target season for us to be in the finals and target even to win the championship,” according to Nacachi. “During this time, we were already thinking we could not afford to not go in the finals.” “So it was with our mindset and our level of commitment that we were able to finally reach our goal of reaching the finals,” she added. “We had enough experience that time already, and it was really time for us to show the level of game maturity the team had obtained from the past seasons.” But then they had to face an unbeaten team. Unscathed in 14 games, De La Salle University was poised to complete a perfect season. The Lady Eagles spoiled it. Ferrer outplayed DLSU setter Mika Esperanza, 57-42, in excellent sets as Ateneo handed the Lady Spikers its first loss after 25 straight victories in a come-from-behind 23-25, 28-26, 25-23, 25-17, Finals opener win. Witnessed by 3,002 spectators inside the then The Arena in San Juan, all of the Fab 5 produced points. Cainglet had 19 behind Valdez’s 24, Gervacio scored 12, Ho had 10, Nacachi finished with five while Ferrer had one. Gorayeb made a big gambit and it worked. “Dahil sa wala kong panggitna, yung laro namin ng La Salle, ginawa kong quicker si Alyssa. Kasi si Alyssa nakakapalo. Nagulat si Ramil (de Jesus) dun.” It was a big win. A huge upset. Unfortunately, Ateneo needed to win two more.  DLSU held a thrice-to-beat advantage.   THAT SWAG After Ateneo made a miracle in Game One, fans began to feel a new rivalry born. The attendance spiked. From just 3,000 spectators, the gate attendance more than doubled its size. The interest was there. Fans of traditional powers began to notice the Lady Eagles as a rising team. For the first time, a squad with no previous championship experience except for a title during the Marcos era in a different collegiate league, made a giant jolt. Everybody wanted to see what these girls would do next.    The Lady Eagles, still high on adrenaline after their Game 1 upset, took the opening set in Game 2. But just like in their opener, a well-experienced DLSU squad adjusted to take the next three frames to move a step closer to a repeat crown. With then Rookie of the Year Ara Galang, Season Most Valuable Player Aby Marano, an intimidating Michele Gumabao and a very efficient Finals MVP Cha Cruz teaming up for the kill, the Lady Spikers ripped Ateneo apart in Game 3 in straight sets, 25-16, 25-22, 25-13. “Sabi nga ni Dzi na nadyan na lahat eh. So I guess noong Season 74 nandoon na pero may kulang pa rin,” said Ho. “I guess we we’re able to make it to the Finals pero wala pa kaming championship experience.” Ferrer agreed. "Siguro ang kulang yung championship experience kasi nasa La Salle na ‘yun eh. Ilang years na silang nagpa-finals, nag-champion and for Ateneo doon pa lang namin sinimulan," said the three-time Best Setter. Lacking championship experience is one thing, but Ateneo during that time wasn’t ready for DLSU’s most feared weapon: the Lady Spikers’ swag.  “They have that swag,” said Gervacio. “Everyone knows about it naman. It’s really coach Ramil’s style talaga kasi as I remember when we were first year, four out of six of the players inside the court were rookies and even if we go against the powerhouses UST, FEU, Adamson, hindi sila yung nakikita nyo na kapag championship na rivalry, na swag, angas, stare down. Pero La Salle talaga kahit sino ang kalaban nila they’ll bring that attitude inside the court.” That Finals series cemented a new rivalry that will become one of the most celebrated in the sport. “I think it also helped that Ateneo-La Salle basketball didn’t face also,” said Gervacio. “Siyempre nandoon ang hunger for the rivalry eh and timely din na its been Ateneo-La Salle na rin sa volleyball.”   CLOSING A CHAPTER The Fab 5 were now in their fifth and last year. They wanted to leave a winning legacy. The pieces were already there. Gorayeb had at his disposal five seniors, a rising star in Valdez, a sophomore middle in Amy Ahomiro, a versatile Ella De Jesus, a steady libero in Denden Lazaro and a new kind of weapon – a massive crowd that can turn any venue into a sea of blue.              As expected, the second installment of the Ateneo-DLSU rivalry was set into place. Both sweeping their semis opponents. The Lady Spikers crushed National University while the Lady Eagles shot down Adamson. Game One was a shocker. DLSU heading into the Finals are on a 14-game roll but were stunned in the first two sets with Ateneo stepping on the gas. But a string of miscues, mostly from the service line, did the Lady Eagles in as they allowed the Lady Spikers to force a decider. DLSU, smelling blood, punished Ateneo to eke out a 20-25, 17-25, 25-22, 25-22, 15-6, victory inside the Big Dome witnesses by 17,342-strong gate attendance. Then the series transferred to a newly-built, state-of-the-art Mall of Asia Arena that drew a crowd of 18,799. The first two frames were frustrating for the Lady Eagles.   Ateneo came back to life in the third set to gain a 9-5 lead. But DLSU easily erased it with Ateneo crumbling under pressure. The Lady Spikers were on an onslaught. Sophomore Galang pushed DLSU at matchpoint with a cold-blooded ace that went in a few inches from the baseline. The score, 24-16. It was a tense moment for the Fab 5. A long rally ensued in the next play. Gervacio, with all her might pounded a kill. Her hand making a great contact on the ball off Ferrer’s backset.     Smack! The ball ricocheted off the hands of DLSU’s Wensh Tiu before falling on the same landing area of Gervacio, who tried to dive for a dig together with Lazaro. DLSU swept Ateneo, 25-23, 25-20, 25-16. Game over.          “Kahit hindi kami nanalo alam naming ibinigay namin ang lahat namin, all-out talaga kaya wala kaming pagsisisi,” said Ho. It was the end of the Fab 5 era, but they left more than what any of them could have imagined. "I remember so many people or fans telling me that they started really watching UAAP Volleyball because of our batch. And that is really touching and fulfilling to know. Knowing that you were able to leave an impact like that to people. We were not able to bring even a single championship to our school, Ateneo, but we were able to touch a lot of people's hearts despite that," Nacachi shared. The Fab 5 closed a colorful chapter of Ateneo volleyball in tears. They were there during the Lady Eagles’ birth pains. They labored. They shed tears, blood and sweat. They laid the foundation for something big. The Fab 5 planted the seeds that would eventually bear fruit and would change the course of Ateneo women’s volleyball program forever. Glory didn’t happen during their time. It started in theirs.    Amidst the roar of the crowd, the falling confetti, banging of drums and the echoing chant of ‘Animo La Salle’ from the sea of green, the Fab 5 hugged each other tight. They found comfort in each other. It was their time to say goodbye. For those who remained – Valdez, Lazaro, Ahomiro, De Jesus – the defeat added fuel to their already blazing desire to bring glory for the blue and white. They were the next in line, heirs to unfinished business. WATCH: FAB 5 Reunion Part 1 and Part 2 --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 20th, 2018

DOC VOLLEYBALL: Breaking Down the UAAP Final Four match-ups

After what has been considered as the most unpredictable elimination round for the women’s division as well as an exciting triple threat fight for dominance over at the men’s side, the Final Four of UAAP Season 80 volleyball has finally arrived. With three out of four teams almost similar for both divisions, fans and supporters of these semifinal teams couldn't be more excited at who will emerge as the final contenders for the crown. Men's Division Final Four Season 80 became witness to a more exciting men's division as the Far Eastern University Tamaraws finally reclaimed its powerhouse status to challenge the perennial rivalry in recent history involving the Ateneo Blue Eagles and the National University Bulldogs. The elimination round became a rock-paper-scissor match-up amongst the three as FEU’s agility, NU’s strength and Ateneo’s skill challenged each other. NU (1) vs. UST (4) The NU Bulldogs are poised to reclaim the crown after edging out their rival Ateneo to secure top seed and twice-to-beat advantage. Fortune favored them once again by dodging a bullet as the team that upset them in round two, the Adamson Soaring Falcons, fell to the UST Golden Tigers in a close decider. NU has proven this season that they can outmuscle the league as their offense greatly compensates for their defense. The Bulldogs are expected to still get output from Bryan Bagunas on all ends while the middles provide stable support. Bryan Bagunas' hit was so strong it ricochets to the announcers' table! #UAAPSeason80Volleyball pic.twitter.com/MqdtjNfgts — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) March 14, 2018 Kim Malabunga says N🚫PE to Marck Espejo! #UAAPSeason80Volleyball pic.twitter.com/j3FJxhd2Gj — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) April 15, 2018 Not to be discredited, the UST Golden Tigers can significantly challenge the NU defense with continuous assaults from their middles most notably Tyrone Carodan, who has been providing high outputs in the second round. Likewise, the make or break factor for UST would be the consistency of left wing hitter Josh Umandal, whose height is a good match against the NU wall. Should UST be able to disrupt NU’s quick set-up and load up on the wings, they might have a chance at extending their run to a do-or-die encounter.  Josh Umandal WHAT A HIT 😱 #UAAPSeason80Volleyball pic.twitter.com/a9QlDj5Yty — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) April 11, 2018   FEU (2) vs. Ateneo (3) After a crucial loss to the Bulldogs for the top spot, the defending champions Ateneo Blue Eagles are in a tight spot as they lost a chance at a twice-to-beat advantage and are now up against their season tormentors, the FEU Tamaraws. In both encounters during the season, the Tamaraws exerted dominance over the defending champions as their bread and butter combination plays were left unchallenged by the Blue Eagle defense. JP Bugaoan taking over for FEU! #UAAPSeason80Volleyball pic.twitter.com/SRkL6wANi7 — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) February 4, 2018 FEU’s strength whole season long lies on solid floor passing care of their libero Rikko Marmeto that enables them to run their combinations. They also employ an unusual rotation where middles shift hitting positions in certain rallies in order to confuse opposing defenders. It would still be in the Tamaraws’ best interest to have their libero cover the most passing responsibility to ensure they can run their plays. You know you're hot when even your libero is scoring! What a smart hit by Rikko Marmeto! #UAAPSeason80Volleyball pic.twitter.com/Xa8uaGh4gu — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) February 4, 2018 With their crown on the edge of being snatched by a team they haven't beaten all season, the Blue Eagles are hard pressed to rely on their solid passing and serving to at least prevent the Tamaraw assault. The Blue Eagles have proven that their service is the best in the league and it will be the most crucial factor in making the finals. Consistent aggressive serving to key locations would be their best option in mitigating the Tamaraw combination. No second touch needed for Marck Espejo 😳 #UAAPSeason80Volleyball pic.twitter.com/Y7OqGUlAUH — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) April 7, 2018   Women's Division Final Four After a highly unpredictable elimination round filled with upsets and the most number of five set matches to date, the top four contenders during the first round were able to hold their ground in their quest for the crown. What's interesting for these Final Four match-ups is that all the teams have beaten each other and that the twice-to-beat advantage is indeed a breath of relief for the top two seeds De La Salle Lady Spikers and Far Eastern University Lady Tamaraws. DLSU (1) vs. NU (4) Securing a twice to beat advantage against an NU team that is yet to recover their groove, the Lady Spikers are in the best position to defend their title in the Finals. Sticking to their guns of excellent serving and passing up until their last elimination game against rival Ateneo, La Salle would be once again expected to capitalize on NU’s passing struggles to prevent the Lady Bulldogs from setting up their offense especially Jaja Santiago from the middle. Aside from that, it can also be expected that the Lady Spikers will load up on another of their best assets which is blocking to capitalize on the lackluster output from the wings of NU recently. Majoy Baron BL🚫CKS Kat Tolentino, AND THEN SOME 😤 #UAAPSeason80Volleyball pic.twitter.com/H55UobHbJO — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) April 15, 2018 On the other hand, the NU Lady Bulldogs have proven before that they can challenge the Archer supremacy. The challenge for them would be how to minimize La Salle’s free ball chances through better passing. While it is to be expected that the Lady Spikers will serve aggressively to limit Santiago’s quick attack opportunities, NU’s passers will be hard pressed to bring the ball at least on a settable location so Santiago can still hit a safety high ball. Likewise, output from the wings will be crucial in taking the spotlight off from Santiago. The set by Nabor! The quick by Sato! 💪 #UAAPSeason80Volleyball pic.twitter.com/Qs3hWOGYqW — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) March 25, 2018   FEU (2) vs. Ateneo (3) A more exciting match-up would be the battle between the Far Eastern University Lady Tamaraws and the Ateneo Lady Eagles since both teams have cancelled each other out in their elimination encounters. The Lady Tamaraws caught Ateneo off guard in three sets to start the season while the Lady Eagles were able to exact a revenge to FEU in five sets in their second round encounter. FEU, like La Salle, will pretty much utilize their best asset in their service and receive game to take advantage of Ateneo’s passing to limit Maddie Madayag and Bea De Leon from the middle while fortifying the floor to defend the wings. In addition, FEU would ensure that their passing is on point as well so that they can run their usual combinations to circumvent the Eagle’s wall. Bernadeth Pons tears right through the wall for the sharp, sharp kill! #UAAPSeason80Volleyball pic.twitter.com/AHjQ2Pmgqs — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) February 4, 2018 On the other hand, the Lady Eagles would be challenged to pass better compared to their most recent game against their rivals. It was highly noticeable that although not a lot of shank passes were made, the quality of the passes were not sufficient enough to at least be set by Deanna Wong to the wings. The Lady Eagles would be hard pressed to do high settable passes to at least drive a hard ball from the wings and extend the transition to involve the middles. Maddie Madayag CLUTCH. #UAAPSeason80Volleyball pic.twitter.com/UTTdUyk0Ns — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) March 25, 2018        .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 19th, 2018

UAAP VOLLEYBALL: Top performers after the elims (women s)

University of Sto. Tomas’ explosive hitter Sisi Rodina and graduating player Jaja Santiago of National University topped the statistics race on offense while University of the East libero Kath Arado dominated the rest of the field in floor defense after the elimination round of the 80th UAAP women’s volleyball tournament. The 5-foot-5 Rondina led the league in scoring with a total of 296 points she accumulated from 271 spikes, 17 service aces and eight kill blocks, edging Santiago by 16 points. Santiago finished at second with 280 points (223 kills, 36 kill blocks, 21 aces) followed by Tots Carlos of University of the Philippines’ 274 (235 kills, 17 kill blocks, 22 aces), Far Eastern University’s Bernadeth Pons’ 215 markers (198 kills, 7 kill blocks, 10 aces) and Jema Galanza of Adamson University’s 207 points (183 kills, 10 kill blocks, 14 aces). But the 6-foot-5 Santiago was the most efficient attacker during the elims with a 41.76% success rate followed by Rondina (38.44%), Adamson’s Mylene Paat (34.84%), Jho Maraguinot of Ateneo (33.15%) and Carlos (32.73). On defense, Arado, the Season 77 Rookie of the Year, bested De La Salle University’s Dawn Macandili in both digs and reception. The fourth year libero averaged 6.72 digs per set ahead of Macandili (6.34), Pons (3.71), Isa Molde of UP (3.10) and Rondina (3.00). Arado also showed her efficiency in reception with a 53.07% success rate to eclipse Macandili (52.31%), Pons (45.16%), Kyla Atienza of FEU (42.47%) and Galanza (39.13%). Meanwhile, FEU’s Celine Domingo topped the blocking department as she collected 41 kill blocks overall and averaged 0.73 kill blocks per set. Santiago landed at second with 0.68 kill blocks per set followed by Majoy Baron of DLSU (0.66), Paat (0.63) and Roselyn Doria of NU (0.60). La Salle’s Desiree Cheng was the most dangerous player on the service line after she landed a total of 35 aces or 0.66 service winners per set followed by teammate Michelle Cobb (31, 0.58 per set), Toni Basas of FEU (32, 0.57 per set), Ateneo’s Kat Tolentino (26, 0.46 per set) and Kyle Negrito of FEU (25, 0.45 per set). Deanna Wong of Ateneo took the no. 1 spot in setting with an average of 8.54 excellent sets per frame ahead of NU’s Jasmine Nabor (8.32), Cobb (8.26), Fenela Emnas of Adamson (7.67) and Negrito (6.79).   ---   Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 16th, 2018

Greener pastures for Filipinos in Canada as mushroom pickers? Not quite.

News reports about Canada offering P150,000 monthly to workers in the agriculture sector went viral on social media and Filipinos were quick to jump on the possibility of greener pastures. But could this job be too good to be true? According to the report, Canada is looking for mushroom pickers, oyster harvesters and butchers. While […].....»»

Category: newsSource:  interaksyonRelated NewsApr 10th, 2018

Greener pastures in Canada as mushroom picker? Not quite.

News reports about Canada offering P150,000 to workers in the agriculture sector went viral on social media and Filipinos were quick to jump on the possibility of greener pastures. But could this job be too good to be true? According to the report, Canada is looking for mushroom pickers, oyster harvesters and butchers. While there […].....»»

Category: newsSource:  interaksyonRelated NewsApr 9th, 2018

DOC VOLLEYBALL: Breaking Down the Lady Bulldogs Struggles

From a 6 - 1 start in the first round to a current 0-4 record in the second round, the National University Lady Bulldogs are in peril of falling out of the Final Four. Ending the first round on a high note, but eventually struggling in the second round is not exclusive to the Lady Bulldogs in recent UAAP Volleyball history. Downward Spiral I remember quite well our very own journey way back in Season 70 when my team, the Ateneo Blue Eagles, also had what seemed to be a budding collapse after a stellar first round. It was the maiden year of current head coach Oliver Almadro and he had the gargantuan task of bringing a perennial cellar dweller team to the Final Four.   To everybody’s surprise, we steamrolled the first round, ending it at 6-1, second only to the former powerhouse line-up of the UST Growling Tigers. Not only we were gunning for the Final Four spot at this point, but we set up hopes of actually making the podium. The second round quelled those hopes as that 7th win which could assure us a Final Four spot proved too elusive until the latter part of the round. We finished the second round of the eliminations at 2-5, which still qualified us for the semi-finals but eventually bowed out to top-seeded UST, which we could have avoided if not for the second round collapse. Though exactly not the same, our scenario is highly comparable to the NU Lady Bulldogs currently as they struggle to beat the teams they have beaten in dominant fashion during the first round. The difference lies in the fact that NU has still three more games to turn things around while we didn’t make any adjustments during our time. Muffled Bark The Lady Bulldogs were suiting up for a sweep of the first round until they were silenced by the FEU Lady Tamaraws towards the mid-season break. Not only were the Lady Tamaraws responsible for the elimination of the step-ladder possibility, but they exposed one glaring weakness in the Lady Bulldogs as well as started the team’s current downward spiral. From the aforementioned match to the recent meltdown at the hands of the UST Golden Tigresses, one trend is highly noticeable which is the correlation between NU’s passing and scoring output most especially from Queen Bulldog Jaja Santiago. Team Passing Percentage Spiking Percentage (Team) Spiking Percentage (Santiago) FEU 22.35 25.79 27.78 DLSU 17.65 28.57 33.33 ADMU 16.42 25.23 38.24 ADU 38.20 24.48 40.48 UST 34.09 30.77 47.92 Fig 1.1 – NU correlation of Passing and Spiking efficiency Based on the numbers alone, it can easily be deduced that tough serving has been the crucial factor to limit Jaja from making significant output. Being a middle, a team passing efficiency below 30-40% would prove problematic as quick attacks rely heavily on consistent reception. Against the top 3 serving teams (FEU, DLSU, ADMU), it can be deduced that Santiago (and co-middle Rissa Sato) only had less than 20% chance to wind up for a quick attack. In most cases, NU’s middles are relegated to mere decoys which rarely prove threatening to opposing blockers.   Due to low output from middle attacks, an adjustment employed is to leave Santiago attacking from zone 6 at the expense of the utilization of their libero Gayle Valdez. In some instances, Sato also doesn’t get switched out due to her reliable floor defense. Though this adjustment has contributed to Santiago providing output from the pipe attack, her position in the back proves to have more costs than benefits. Since Santiago is not switched out, their best passer (Valdez) is underutilized. In addition, instead of just focusing on the back row attack, Santiago is also burdened with passing responsibilities which significantly hamper her capability to wind up for the perfect approach. In certain instances as well, Santiago takes the second ball during transition coverage instead of just focusing on approaching for the attack. Last Minute Adjustments Going by the numbers alone, perhaps the best adjustment the Lady Bulldogs can utilize is to fully commit Santiago in the opposite position. In terms of passing and digging, this rotation would ensure that Valdez is still fully utilized as a defense specialist at the same time still enabling Santiago to contribute from the back row. In line with that, a shift into the opposite position would eliminate any passing burden for Santiago, letting her just focus on approaching for the attack. With regards to attack, a concern perhaps is if the shift to opposite would still provide the same output for Santiago. With the current disposition in the Lady Bulldogs’ floor efficiency, the shift would definitely be beneficial more than costly. First off, a middle attack relies heavily on several interlinked factors such as the pass consistency, the speed of the toss, the location of the attacker, and the height of the ball. On the other hand, attacks from the right wing, be it from the front or back row, relies less on pass consistency and attacker position. Santiago committing to the right wing would ensure that NU Setter Jasmine Nabor will always have a threatening safety net regardless of the quality of the pass. In addition, attacks from the wings would be easier for Nabor to exploit Santiago’s high attack reach as compared to quick hits. Another concern perhaps would be the trade off for blocking since Santiago would be focused on one area. Going by the numbers once more, the six leading scorers in the league (excluding Santiago) are open hitters. It would definitely prove beneficial to pit the team’s best blocker against the position with the highest scorers in the league. Though it may not guarantee kill blocks all the time, the towering presence of Santiago from the right wing would significantly alter the spiking tendencies of open hitters from other teams. In terms of a replacement blocker to fill in Santiago’s spot, NU need not be concerned with making kill blocks as well. As exemplified by Adamson’s middle Lea Ann Perez, a decent sized middle with good lateral movement can significantly contribute to the rotation through one-touch blocks that slow the ball’s momentum. High Risk High Reward Though the numbers right now logically point to the aforementioned adjustment, a practical application of such strategy is a whole different story. Perhaps the best testament of this strategy would be the masterful risk by Russian men’s volleyball coach Vladimir Alekno in none other than the Gold Medal Match of the 2012 Summer Olympics. Severely struggling in passing and defense against the Brazilian assault, the Russians’ backs were up against the wall 0 sets to 2 as they failed to utilize their strongest asset, the 7’2” giant Dimitriy Muserskiy from the middle. With Muserskiy out of the attacking equation in most cases, Brazil was able to close in on their block to the wings. With what could be considered as the riskiest yet smartest adjustment in volleyball history, Alekno fielded in Muserskiy as the opposite while putting his ace opposite Maxim Mikhaylov in the open position. Russian setter Sergey Grankin just went all out in feeding Muserskiy from the right wing with high and off the net tosses. The switch proved to be a masterstroke as the towering Muserskiy just went all out with height and strength to plow through the Brazilian net and floor defense. In addition, the adjustment did not only alter the defense dynamic of Brazil but the attack as well with Brazilian setter Bruno Rezende setting the right side more to avoid Muserskiy’s wall in the left. The last minute adjustment by the Russians caught the Brazilians off guard as they stretch out the match to a decider and eventually dealt a disheartening loss to their opponents. Going back, with Jaja Santiago inarguably comparable to Muserskiy in terms of capability to attack high from the wings, a shift into the opposite position would be a noteworthy consideration. Not only will it maximize and put more value on Santiago, such a shift can also contribute significantly in the passing woes of the Lady Bulldogs as it will ensure that their best passer will still be fielded in and utilized more. With three more upcoming matches to try out a new strategy, all might not be too late for the Lady Bulldogs to get back on the right path to the crown.  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 29th, 2018

2018 MLB preview: AL East

By The Associated Press Capsules of American League East teams, listed in order of finish last year: ___ Boston Red Sox 2017: 93-69, first place, lost to Houston in ALDS. Manager: Alex Cora (first season). He's Here: DH J.D. Martinez. He's Outta Here: Manager John Farrell, RHP Doug Fister, OF Chris Young, RHP Addison Reed, OF Rajai Davis, LHP Henry Owens, LHP Fernando Abad. Projected Lineup: RF Mookie Betts (.264, 24 HRs, 102 RBIs), LF Andrew Benintendi (.271, 20, 90), 1B Hanley Ramirez (.242, 23, 62) or Mitch Moreland (.246, 22, 79), DH J.D. Martinez (.303, 45, 104 with Tigers and Diamondbacks), 3B Rafael Devers (.284, 10, 30 in 58 games), SS Xander Bogaerts (.273, 10, 62), CF Jackie Bradley Jr. (.245, 17, 63), C Christian Vazquez (.290, 5, 32) or Sandy Leon (.225, 7, 39), 2B Eduardo Nunez (.313, 12, 58, 24 SBs with Giants and Red Sox) or Dustin Pedroia (.293, 7, 62, .369 OBP in 105 games, expected to be out until late May following knee surgery). Rotation: LH Chris Sale (17-8, 2.90 ERA, MLB-best 308 Ks, MLB-high 214 1/3 IP), LH David Price (6-3, 3.38, 11 starts, 5 relief appearances), RH Rick Porcello (11-17, 4.65), LH Drew Pomeranz (17-6, 3.32, expected to begin season on disabled list with strained left forearm), RH Hector Velazquez (3-1, 2.92) or RH Steven Wright (1-3, 8.25 in 5 starts) or LH Eduardo Rodriguez (6-7, 4.19). Key Relievers: RH Craig Kimbrel (5-0, 1.43, 35/39 saves), RH Carson Smith (0-0, 1.35, 1 save in 8 games), RH Matt Barnes (7-3, 3.88), RH Joe Kelly (4-1, 2.79), RH Tyler Thornburg (injured in 2017, expected to begin season on DL). Hot Spot: Starting Rotation. This group has the potential to be the strength of the team, with two Cy Young Award winners and four All-Stars to choose from. But other than Sale, it has been spotty. And in the four-game playoff loss to the eventual World Series champion Astros last year, the Red Sox didn't get a single quality start as the rotation totaled just 11 1/3 innings. The first four spots are spoken for, aside from the injury to Pomeranz. Among those competing with Velazquez for the fifth spot are Wright, Rodriguez and Brian Johnson. Wright, a knuckleballer and 2016 All-Star, had left knee surgery in May and missed the rest of the 2017 season. Rodriguez had major right knee surgery in October. It's possible neither will be ready for opening day, but both could be back by mid-April. Outlook: The Red Sox won 93 games last year for the second straight season and claimed the franchise's first back-to-back AL East titles. But Farrell was fired after they failed to advance in the playoffs for the fourth year in a row. The key — and really only — addition is Martinez, who gives them someone to replace longtime slugger David Ortiz after finishing last in the AL in homers without Big Papi in 2017. The theory behind Boston keeping up with the reloaded New York Yankees goes something like this: A full season of a healthy Price will bolster a rotation that already has a quality ace in Sale, plus 2016 AL Cy Young Award winner Porcello and All-Stars Pomeranz and Wright. The Red Sox also are staking their chances on the hope that Ramirez can be more like the player he was in 2016 (.286, 30, 111); that Pedroia will return quickly and be healthy and productive; that 20-year-old third baseman Devers will be able to stay up for a full season; and that Bradley won't have another second-half slump. The bullpen, anchored by Kimbrel, remains strong. ___ New York Yankees 2017: 91-71, second place, wild card, lost to Houston in ALCS. Manager: Aaron Boone (first season). He's Here: OF Giancarlo Stanton, 2B Neil Walker, 3B Brandon Drury. He's Outta Here: Manager Joe Girardi, 2B Starlin Castro, 3B-1B Chase Headley, 3B Todd Frazier, DH Matt Holliday, LHP Jaime Garcia. Projected Lineup: LF Brett Gardner (.264, 21 HRs, 63 RBIs, 96 runs, 23 SBs), RF Aaron Judge (.284, AL-leading 52, 114, MLB-high 208 Ks), 1B Greg Bird (.190, 9, 28 in 48 games), DH Giancarlo Stanton (.281, MLB-leading 59, MLB-best 132, 163 Ks with Marlins), C Gary Sanchez (.278, 33, 90, 120 Ks in 122 games), SS Didi Gregorius (.287, 25, 87), CF Aaron Hicks (.266, 15, 52 in 88 games), 2B Neil Walker (.265, 14, 49 with Mets and Brewers), 3B Brandon Drury (.267, 13, 63 with Diamondbacks). Rotation: RH Luis Severino (14-8, 2.98 ERA, 230 Ks in 193 1/3 IP), RH Masahiro Tanaka (13-12, 4.74, 194 Ks), LH CC Sabathia (14-5, 3.69), RH Sonny Gray (10-12, 3.55 with Athletics and Yankees), LH Jordan Montgomery (9-7, 3.88 in 29 starts). Key Relievers: LH Aroldis Chapman (4-3, 3.22, 22/26 saves, 69 Ks, 50 1/3 IP in 52 games), RH David Robertson (9-2, 1.48, 14/16 saves in 61 games with White Sox and Yankees), RH Dellin Betances (3-6, 2.87, 10/13 saves, 100 Ks, 50 2/3 IP in 66 games), RH Tommy Kahnle (2-4, 2.59, 96 Ks in 62 2/3 IP with White Sox and Yankees), RH Chad Green (5-0, 1.83, 103 Ks in 69 IP), RH Adam Warren (3-2, 2.35 in 44 games), LH Chasen Shreve (4-1, 3.77 in 44 games). Hot Spot: Starting Rotation. There is little seasoned depth if injuries develop, with Luis Cessa the first candidate to step up, and Chance Adams and Justus Sheffield needing more time in the minors. Sabathia turns 38 in July and while he is coming off his best and most durable season in five years, his surgically repaired right knee requires periodic injections of painkiller. Severino must maintain his consistency of 2017 after going 3-8 the previous year, when he was demoted to the minors. Montgomery is expected to increase his innings from 155 1/3. The back end of New York's rotation puts pressure on its bullpen: While Severino averaged 99 pitches per start, Gray 98 and Tanaka 94, Sabathia and Montgomery were at 87 each. Outlook: New York figures to score a lot and strike out a lot, a reason the Yankees signed the switch-hitting, high-contact Walker during spring training. Drury also was a late addition, enabling New York to start prospects Gleyber Torres and Miguel Andujar in the minors. Betances faded in the second half last season, struggling with his mechanics and control and diminishing from a four-time All-Star to a mop-up man. After a pair of injury-decimated seasons, Bird is being counted on as a left-handed power bat in the middle of the batting order who can prevent opponents from bringing in right-handed relievers to attack Judge, Stanton and Sanchez. Hicks missed nearly half of last season with oblique injuries but has displaced Jacoby Ellsbury as the regular center fielder. Having never managed or coached at any level, Boone succeeded Girardi and must establish with players and the public that he knows what he is doing. ___ Tampa Bay Rays 2017: 80-82, third place. Manager: Kevin Cash (fourth season). He's Here: OF Denard Span, 1B C.J. Cron, RHP Nathan Eovaldi, OF Jake Bauers. He's Outta Here: 3B Evan Longoria, RHP Alex Cobb, RHP Jake Odorizzi, OF-DH Corey Dickerson, OF Steven Souza Jr., 1B Logan Morrison, 1B-DH Lucas Duda, RHP Brad Boxberger, RHP Steve Cishek, RHP Tommy Hunter, OF Peter Bourjos, INF Trever Plouffe, RHP Chase Whitley. Projected Lineup: LF Denard Span (.272, 12 HRs, 43 RBIs, 31 2Bs, 12 SBs in 129 games with Giants), CF Kevin Kiermaier (.276, 15, 39 in 98 games), C Wilson Ramos (.260, 11, 35 in 64 games), RF Carlos Gomez (.255, 17, 51 with Rangers), 1B C.J. Cron (.248, 16, 56 with Angels), DH Brad Miller (.201, 9, 40), 3B Matt Duffy (sidelined by Achilles tendon injury), 2B Daniel Robertson (.206, 5, 19) or Joey Wendle (.285, 8, 54 in 118 games with Triple-A Nashville), SS Adeiny Hechavarria (.261, 8, 30 with Marlins and Rays). Rotation: RH Chris Archer (10-12, 4.07 ERA, 249 Ks in 34 starts), LH Blake Snell (5-7, 4.04 in 24 starts), RH Nathan Eovaldi (missed season following Tommy John surgery), RH Jake Faria (5-4, 3.43 in 16 games, 14 starts). Key Relievers: RH Alex Colome (2-3, 3.24, 47/53 saves), RH Matt Andriese (5-5, 4.50), RH Sergio Romo (3-1, 3.56 in 55 appearances with Dodgers and Rays; 2-0, 1.47 in 25 games with Rays), LH Dan Jennings (3-1, 3.45 in 77 games with White Sox and Rays), RH Andrew Kittredge (0-1, 1.76 in 15 games), RH Chaz Roe (0-0, 9.00 in 3 games with Braves), RH Austin Pruitt (7-5, 5.31), LH Joe Alvarado (0-3, 3.64). Hot Spot: Starting Rotation. Normally, the Rays are built around good, young starting pitching and solid defense, a formula that will be tested after losing Cobb to free agency, trading Odorizzi and settling on a plan to use a four-man rotation, instead of the customary five. Cash intends to use multiple relievers on floating "bullpen days" slotted to allow the four starters to pitch on regular rest. It may not be a conventional setup, but the Rays are confident they have enough good arms to make it work. Outlook: The Rays sport a new look after a winter of trimming payroll. In addition to the departures of Cobb and Odorizzi, the heart of a batting order that hit a club-record 228 homers — Longoria, Dickerson, Souza and Morrison — is gone, too. Archer, a two-time All-Star, is set to make his franchise-record fourth opening day start, and Colome is back at closer, too. The question that remains unanswered is, for how long? Cash and general manager Erik Neander aren't making any bold predictions but they insist that despite all the changes, the Rays have a chance to be a lot more competitive than it appears on paper. ___ Toronto Blue Jays 2017: 76-86, fourth place. Manager: John Gibbons (sixth season of second stint, 11th overall with Blue Jays). He's Here: LHP Jaime Garcia, OF Randal Grichuk, OF Curtis Granderson, RHP Seung-hwan Oh, INF Yangervis Solarte, INF Aledmys Diaz, RHP John Axford, RHP Tyler Clippard, INF Danny Espinosa, RHP Taylor Guerrieri, INF Gift Ngoepe, LHP Sam Moll, RHP Sam Gaviglio. He's Outta Here: OF Jose Bautista, OF Ezequiel Carrera, RHP Dominic Leone, LHP Brett Anderson, INF Darwin Barney, RHP Leonel Campos, OF Darrell Ceciliani, RHP Taylor Cole, INF Ryan Goins, C Raffy Lopez, RHP Tom Koehler, RHP Dominic Leone, C Miguel Montero, INF Rob Refsnyder, OF Michael Saunders, RHP Bo Schultz, RHP Cesar Valdez. Projected Lineup: 2B Devon Travis (.259, 5 HRs, 24 RBIs in 50 games), 3B Josh Donaldson (.270, 33, 78), 1B Justin Smoak (.270, 38, 90), DH Kendrys Morales (.250, 28, 85), LF Steve Pearce (.252, 13, 37) or Curtis Granderson (.212, 26, 64 with Mets and Dodgers), C Russell Martin (.221, 13, 35), SS Troy Tulowitzki (.249, 7, 26 in 66 games), RF Randal Grichuk (.238, 22, 59 with Cardinals), CF Kevin Pillar (.256, 16, 42). Rotation: LH J.A. Happ (10-11, 3.53 ERA), RH Aaron Sanchez (1-3, 4.25 in 8 games), RH Marco Estrada (10-9, 4.98), RH Marcus Stroman (13-9, 3.09), LH Jaime Garcia (5-10, 4.41 with Braves, Twins and Yankees). Key Relievers: RH Roberto Osuna (3-4, 3.39, 39/49 saves), RH Ryan Tepera (7-1, 3.59, 2 saves), RH Danny Barnes (3-6, 3.55), RH Seung Hwan Oh (1-6, 4.10, 20 saves with Cardinals), LH Aaron Loup (2-3, 3.75), RH John Axford (0-1, 6.43 with Athletics), RH Tyler Clippard (2-8, 4.77, 5 saves with White Sox, Yankees and Astros). Hot Spot: Shortstop. Tulowitzki is owed $20 million in each of 2018 and 2019, and $14 million in 2020, the final season of a 10-year contract he received from Colorado. Tulo has missed at least 30 games in six straight seasons, and will begin 2018 on the disabled list because of a bone spur in his right heel. Although the Blue Jays have multiple backup options, they could be waiting at least a month, if not longer, for the five-time All-Star and two-time Gold Glove winner to return. Tulowitzki sustained a season-ending injury to his right ankle in late July last year. Outlook: The powerful Yankees and reigning division champion Red Sox are considered playoff favorites in the AL East, so the expectation is the Blue Jays will be left to compete for the second wild card. If Donaldson and Smoak help the offense rebound from last season's injury-induced stumble, when Toronto scored an AL-low 693 runs, and the starting pitching stays strong and healthy, the Blue Jays might be able to mount a playoff push. Health concerns remain plentiful, however. Besides Tulowitzki's troublesome heel, Travis will need scheduled downtime to rest his surgically repaired right knee. Stroman was slowed by a sore shoulder in spring training, and Sanchez will be closely monitored after making just eight starts last year because of blister issues. ___ Baltimore Orioles 2017: 75-87, fifth place. Manager: Buck Showalter (ninth season). He's Here: RHP Alex Cobb, RHP Andrew Cashner, OF Colby Rasmus, LHP Nestor Cortes Jr., C Andrew Susac, INF Engelb Vielma, OF Austin Hays. He's Outta Here: C Welington Castillo, SS J.J. Hardy, RHP Ubaldo Jimenez, LHP Wade Miley, RHP Jeremy Hellickson. Projected Lineup: LF Trey Mancini (.293, 24 HRs, 78 RBIs), 2B Jonathan Schoop (.293, 32, 105, 35 2Bs), SS Manny Machado (.259, 33, 95, 33 2Bs), CF Adam Jones (.285, 26, 73), 1B Chris Davis (.215, 26, 61, 61 BBs, 195 Ks), 3B Tim Beckham (.259, 12, 36 in 87 games with Rays; .306, 10, 26 in 50 games with Orioles), DH Mark Trumbo (.234, 23, 65, 149 Ks), RF Colby Rasmus (.281, 9, 23 with Rays), C Caleb Joseph (.256, 8, 28). Rotation: RH Dylan Bundy (13-9, 4.24 ERA, 152 Ks), RH Kevin Gausman (11-12, 4.68, 179 Ks), RH Alex Cobb (12-10, 3.66 with Rays), RH Andrew Cashner (11-11, 3.40 with Rangers), RH Chris Tillman (1-7, 7.84) or RH Miguel Castro (3-3, 3.53 in 39 games, 1 start). Key Relievers: RH Brad Brach (4-5, 3.18, 18/24 saves), RH Darren O'Day (2-3, 3.43, 2 saves), LH Richard Bleier (2-1, 1.99), RH Mychal Givens (8-1, 2.75). Hot Spot: Starting Rotation. The late addition of Cobb fills out a previously shaky unit, but depth and experience are still an issue. Bundy and Gausman were decent last season, but the young right-handers must take another step forward. Jimenez and Hellickson have been replaced by Cashner, on his third team in four years, and Castro, a converted reliever with one career start. Tillman, re-signed as a free agent, has to prove that his miserable 2017 season was merely a fluke rather than the beginning of the end of a career that two years ago appeared to be blooming. Should any of the starters get injured, the team has very few options on the staff and in the minors beyond right-hander Mike Wright, who's got a lifetime ERA of 5.86. Outlook: The Orioles were 25-16 and in first place last year before fading to their first losing season since 2011. The prospect for improvement will rest on a power-laden lineup that needs Davis and Trumbo to rebound from poor performances, but both sluggers fought through injuries this spring and Trumbo will be on the disabled list on opening day. With a shaky rotation and a bullpen that is without injured closer Zach Britton, the Orioles must score plenty of runs to make some noise in the AL East. Baltimore's defense, usually a strong point, was not particularly efficient in 2017. The team addressed the problem by switching Machado to shortstop and working hard on fundamentals this spring. Most important, this could be the last season in Baltimore for Jones and Machado, whose contracts expire after 2018. If the Orioles are sputtering in July, the most intriguing aspect of the team might be whether one or both stars get jettisoned before the July 31 trade deadline......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 29th, 2018

Behind the glitz, France has problems to solve before WCup

By Jerome Pugmire, Associated Press PARIS (AP) — France's attacking soccer can be compared to an All-Star basketball game: showy moves, flashy individual skill and outstanding finishing. Up front France boasts Kylian Mbappe and Ousmane Dembele, two of the world's three most expensive players, and the 2016 European Championship's top scorer in Antoine Griezmann. When everything comes together, it's a joy to watch but, behind the glitz, France has significant problems to resolve before its World Cup campaign begins on June 16. As Euro 2016 runner-up, France will rightly be considered among the favorites in Russia. But rivals will marvel at the ease with which Colombia pierced France's feeble defense and overran its tentative midfield on Friday. Trailing 2-0, Colombia rallied to win 3-2 in a tactical master class of positional switches and pressing which flummoxed France coach Didier Deschamps. France showed similar frailties against World Cup winner Germany in November, twice squandering the lead in a 2-2 draw. Both times, France fluffed chances because of some complacent finishing — trying to score highlight-reel goals — and was then ruthlessly punished. It is particularly worrying for Deschamps, who places high importance on tactical discipline, commitment, leadership and risk-free defending. Those were hallmarks of France's triumphant teams at the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000 tournaments — with the combative midfielder Deschamps as captain — but they were missing against Colombia on Friday. "We have to do more in terms of attitude, energy and playing with more heart," France captain Hugo Lloris said. "We have to give more." In adding that Colombia "maybe has less talent but is a real team" Lloris highlighted the glossy veneer and soft underbelly of his side. Striker Olivier Giroud criticized a lack of "aggression and determination," adding it was important to understand why France was missing such "crucial values." Deschamps has another friendly, away to Russia on Tuesday, before he names his 23-man World Cup squad. He will then have three matches left to iron out evident flaws in his side, including a lack of leadership, lapses of concentration in defense, and a misplaced sense of superiority when dominating games. "When things are going well, we're capable of doing very good things. When things get tense we're a lot more vulnerable," Deschamps said. "It's also a question of character, perhaps we are too self-satisfied and the highest level doesn't forgive that." ___ LACK OF LEADERSHIP France's second-half capitulation against Colombia was not just tactical; it was also because Les Bleus had no leader to spark a response. France's long-standing captain is goalkeeper Hugo Lloris. While there is no doubt over Lloris' position as No. 1 — the Tottenham goalie is among the most consistent in the Premier League and has nearly 100 international caps — his position on the field works against him in communicating with his team. Lloris has long been considered too soft-spoken and lacking enough of a vocal presence. Deschamps complained his side lacked aggression against Colombia, and he may question why he's sticking with Lloris as captain when he is anything but aggressive, both in his body language and communication. ___ DEFENSE WEAKNESSES France plays such scintillating attacking football that its defenders must sometimes be tempted to put their feet up and admire it. Unfortunately, at times they seem to do just that. Deschamps is still trying to decide on his best center back pairing: Real Madrid's Raphael Varane alongside either Barcelona's Samuel Umiti or Arsenal's 50-cap veteran Laurent Koscielny. He went with Varane and Umtiti against Colombia and it was thoroughly unconvincing. Forward Luis Muriel regularly got behind Varane, and Umtiti clumsily gave away a late penalty, from which Colombia made it 3-2. But bringing Koscielny back in won't solve everything, either. While he is a fine reader of the game, and one of the best ball-playing center halves around, Koscielny has a habit of giving away penalties and his man-marking can be poor. Right backs Djibril Sidibe and Benjamin Pavard are attack-minded but so are left backs Layvin Kurzawa and Lucas Digne. Against Colombia, Sidibe and Digne raced forward almost at will, leaving gaping holes behind them for Colombia to exploit. ___ MIDFIELD CONUNDRUM With N'Golo Kante, Paul Pogba and Blaise Matuidi, the last position Deschamps should worry about is midfield. However, Pogba has fallen out of favor at Manchester United and looks out of form. Against Colombia, Deschamps paired Kante and Matuidi as holding midfielders in a 4-4-2 formation, but they were at times completely overrun when Colombia countered on the break. A 4-3-3 formation — Kante holding with Pogba and Matuidi either side — appears to offer more protection. But Pogba's tactical indiscipline means he often drifts out of position and, while he's among the world's most expensive players, Deschamps may be better off using him as a substitute. Instead, Deschamps could opt for a 4-3-3 with Bayern Munich's Corentin Tolisso, who is far more disciplined and a crisp passer with a good eye for goal. He scored 14 for Lyon last season, including long-range strikes, and has found the net several times for Bayern. Tuesday's match against Russia could prove important for Pogba's chances of starting France's World Cup opener against Australia......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 25th, 2018

Wendell Comboy stole Alvin Pasaol s thunder

All eyes were on Alvin Pasaol as he willed University of the East into the Finals of the inaugural UAAP 3x3 Men's Tournament. And why wouldn't they as the King Warrior literally single-handedly shot his team there, outscoring National University in the semifinals by his lonesome, 17-16. In the Finals, however, try as he might, Pasaol just couldn't will UE through Far Eastern University. That's because for every shot he made, Wendell Comboy was right there to answer. The Tamaraws raced to a 12-6 start in the championship game before the burly forward who famously scored 49 points in one UAAP game last season pulled the Red Warriors to within four. Comboy's stepback jumper from deep was the quick counter for FEU, however, and it put out the fire before it could even get hot. Pasaol then again inched his team to 13-16 only to see the incoming fourth-year guard drop back-to-back long-range missiles for the response. Not long after, the Tamaraws became the first champions of the UAAP 3x3 Men's division - and with 2:06 still to spare at that. For the sharpshooter who made it happen, the championship was extra special because he didn't even think he was going to be playing. "Sobrang nag-enjoy po ako. Actually, 'di ko nga in-expect na ako ang pipiliin ni coach kaya talagang thankful pa rin ako para makalaro," he shared. Now, not only did he play, but also led his team into making history. "Sobrang nakaka-overwhelm. Siyempre, (season) host ang FEU kaya sabi ni (athletic director) Mark [Molina] na dapat kami ang champion," he said. He then continued, "Nagkakonting pressure, pero sobrang nag-enjoy rin naman kami." Really, Comboy's outburst in the Finals shouldn't have come as a surprise as he was already doing things like this to De La Salle University, one of the favorites entering the tournament, in the semis: Wendell Comboy making em dance out here! #UAAPSeason803x3 pic.twitter.com/RtnzSmF6f9 — Normie Riego (@riegogogo) March 4, 2018 And this: Comboy bringing the pain to DLSU! #UAAPSeason803x3 pic.twitter.com/SYL1XoEQUU — Normie Riego (@riegogogo) March 4, 2018 Also, things like this: Wendell. Comboy. Cmon! Wow! #UAAPSeason803x3 pic.twitter.com/xR6ieJqIBn — Normie Riego (@riegogogo) March 4, 2018 However, the Tamaraw guard said this is only part of the buildup in their preparations to better their fourth-place finish in the UAAP Men's Basketball Tournament a season ago. "Ang mindset kasi namin, sobrang 'di pwedeng maulit yung ganun. As early as now, nagpe-prepare na talaga kami," he said. He then continued, "Kahit anong event man yan as long as basketball, talagang binibigay namin ang best namin." --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 4th, 2018

Siklab Atleta aims for the Philippines first Olympic gold medal

The Siklab Atleta Pilipinas Sports Foundation, a project aimed to gather support from the private sector to fund the athletes who have potential to bring home the first-ever Olympic gold for the country, was formally launched on Saturday. Phoenix Fuel Corporation and Presidential Adviser on Sports Dennis Uy, who is the man behind Siklab Atleta, cites the natural and admirable talent of the Filipino athlete on the global stage.   "The road towards bringing home the first Olympic gold is not easy, but with the support of everybody, we may have chance,” said Uy. 2019 Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee Chairman and Department of Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano was also in attendance.   “We may disagree, we may argue but for as long as we are united in the goal of helping our athletes, then we are good,” remarked Cayetano.   Cayetano also touched on the subject of taking care of athletes who have passed their prime and are in very dire situations in life. “Yes the country will “use” you, but it is our commitment to you that we will never forget you.  We will take care of you.” Sixteen corporate sponsors namely SM investments Corp., Belle Corporation, RFM Corporation, Alaska Milk Corp., Tanduay Distillery, JG Summit Holdings, Inc., Megawide Construction Corp., International Container Terminal Services, Inc., San Miguel Corporation, PLDT, Unilab, Ulticon Builders Inc., Phoenix Petroleum, 2Go, Megaworld Corporation, Robinsons Land Corporation and Philippine International Air Terminal Corp., have so far pledged their support. Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) Chairman William "Butch" Ramirez expressed his gratitude towards the private sector whose partnership is important to help our athletes succeed. Newly-elected Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) President Ricky Vargas echoed Ramirez in his message of unity saying “it takes a whole community to support an athlete.”  He also said that all sports stakeholders must unite to find the best athletes to represent the country.   The foundation has identified thirty athlete-recipients so far.  Fourteen of them, led by Rio Olympics Silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz, were in attendance as the others are training overseas or participating in competitions. Newly-elected POC Chairman, Congressman Bambol Tolentino intimated that the athletes’ “pusong Pinoy” is what he feels when he watches a live sporting match, “but in this room, with all of you sports leaders and heroes, dama ang buong pusong Pinoy”......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 3rd, 2018

UAAP VOLLEYBALL: DLSU shoots down poor-receiving Ateneo

Two-time defending champion De La Salle University peppered archrival Ateneo de Manila University with service aces the whole match in a bounce back 25-20, 25-17, 24-26, 25-20, victory Saturday in the 80th UAAP women’s volleyball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena. Coming off a shocking four-set loss to Adamson University a week ago, the Lady Spikers bared their teeth once again as they drew first blood in their elimination round head-to-head against the Lady Eagles. Desiree Cheng, who nailed three-straight service aces at the close of the second set, Kim Kianna Dy and Majoy Baron bannered the Taft-based squad’s fifth win in seven outings to tie Far Eastern University at second to third spots. DLSU put the Lady Eagles’ four-game winning streak to a screeching halt. Ateneo slid to 4-3 card at the close of the first round.              The Lady Spikers pulled away in the fourth after a sorry loss in the third and built a 20-14 lead. The Katipunan-based squad aswered with a 5-1 rallt capped by three straight points to breathe dowm the necks of DLSU, 21-19. Bea De Leon sent her service long in the next play followed by a Tin Tiamzon hit and a block by Kianna Kim Dy on Kat Tolentino for a 24-19 lead. Desiree Cheng gave Ateneo a free point on a service error but Season 79 Rookie of the Year Jules Samonte sent her serve short as DLSU escaped with the win.        The Lady Spikers clawed its way back from an 11-21 deficit in the third set with a scorching run. Ahead by 10 points, DLSU took advantage of Jho Maraguinot’s service error to mount a telling scoring blitz to knot the set at 21. Season 79 rookie Jules Samonte pushed Ateneo back on top but DLSU answered with three straight points to move at match point, 24-22. But the Lady Spikers committed an error before Maraguinot tied it at 24. Maddie Madayag blocked Aduke Ogunsanya on the next play before Kat Tolentino put the set away with a crosscourt hit.              (To be updated) --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 3rd, 2018

Cobb, Wong to go under the microscope in Ateneo-La Salle match

All eyes will be on young setters Michelle Cobb and Deanna Wong when archrivals defending two-time champion De La Salle University and Ateneo de Manila University cross paths in a marquee match Saturday in the 80th UAAP women’s volleyball tournament at the MOA Arena. Filling in the shoes of veteran playmakers, both Cobb and Wong will be put on a litmus test as they try to carry their respective teams to victory at the close of the first round of elimination. Game time is at 4:00 p.m. and will air live on ABS-CBN S+A Channel 23, ABS-CBN S+A HD Channel 166, LIGA on SkyCable Channel 86, LIGA HD on SkyCable Channel 183 and via livestream. Both teams sport 4-2 win-loss records in a three-way logjam with Far Eastern University at second to fourth spots. After a two straight losses to start their campaign, the Lady Eagles have fully adjusted with setter Wong, who replaced Jia Morado after she decided to forego her final playing year hours following Ateneo’s championship defeat last season, orchestrating their offense. The Lady Eagles march into battle riding the crest of their four-game winning streak including a straight-set, 25-20, 25-22, 28-26, demolition of University of the Philippines last Sunday.   Wong, who is averaging 8.27 excellent sets per frame, plays down her match up with Cobb, who is playing the role left by seasoned playmaker Kim Fajardo. “I mean I’m not really thinking into comparing myself with others naman but that’s what I’ve been hearing and Michelle Cobb is a great setter naman,” said Wong, who will have the support of Bea De Leon, Jho Maraguinot, Kat Tolentino, Jules Samonte and Maddie Madayag. “So ano lang my goal naman is for us to win the championship so parang just play our game lang, play my game and laro lang.” While Ateneo is on a winning roll, the Lady Spikers are reeling off a shocking 18-25, 25-15, 19-25, 22-25, defeat the hands of Adamson University a week ago. Sophomore Cobb, who is averaging a season-best 8.36 excellent sets per frame, was outplayed by Adamson playmaker Fenela Emnas, 29-43, in perfect sets.      DLSU head coach Ramil De Jesus hopes that Cobb has learned from their setback as she rides into a battle.     “Well itong mga klaseng big game dapat ma-experience ng setter namin so kung ma-overcome niya ‘tong ganitong pressure na nakapatong sa baikat niya good para sa kanya and good para sa team,” said De Jesus after their loss to the Lady Falcons. “So we’ll see kung anong adjustment mangyayari sa kanya, kung kaya niyang i-handle ang mga ganoong situations.” Reigning Most Valuable Player Majoy Baron, Des Cheng, Kim Kianna Dy, Tin Tiamzon and Aduke Ogunsanya will have Cobb’s back.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 2nd, 2018

The world of The Dreaming returns in new Sandman Universe series

MANILA, Philippines – Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman series is marking its 30th anniversary this year, and to celebrate,  DC Comics' Vertigo is bringing the beloved series back with Sandman Universe. According to Entertainment Weekly , Sandman Universe will include 4 new comic series to be plotted by Gaiman but written ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsMar 2nd, 2018

UAAP Football: DLSU squeaks by pesky UE

The DLSU Green Archers survived a gritty UE Red Warriors squad to get a hard-earned 3-2 victory at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium in the continuation of the UAAP Season 80 Football tournament action Thursday morning. Paolo Perez scored the go-ahead goad early in the second half, as he slid his way inside the penalty box, went left and fired the goal in the 49th minute. It was all chaos in the first half as the two teams scored all of the first four goals of the game in a 15-minute span. Jed Diamante drew first blood for the Green Archers, receiving a great pass from midfield, launching it from just inside the boundaries of the box in the 31st minute for a 1-0 La Salle lead. UE found a stroke of luck, two actually, as striker Mar Diano exploited the helpless Green Archer defense, taking advantage of a wide-open goal, scoring the equalizer for UE in the 38th minute. The Red Warriors then managed to get the ball back and utilized great passing to pass it to Regil Galaura, who scored just outside the goalkeeper's box to give UE a 2-1 lead in the 40th minute. "That was because we were too eager to defend. Yung gigil, that's what had happened. We had left them open, and there were three, four attacking against two of us. Thre were mistakes, because of too eagerness, too anxious to defend. They were not thinking too straight," La Salle coach Hans-Peter Smit said after the game. Perhaps stunned by the turn of events, La Salle scrambled to score quickly, as Chris Lawless again tied the game at 2-all with a goal fired from the left side of the UE defense in the first minute of the added extra time. "[The team] had to make some adjustments. It's just, like I said, like in previous games, even after the loss [vs Ateneo], they showed some something else, much different, which is what I want, and which I like now," Smit said. The longtime coach added that the scintillating weather conditions made it much harder for the two teams to play better, as some were already cramping up by halftime. But the team's confidence rose as Lawless scored the game-tying goal jsut before the end of the first half, which provided for Perez to make the go-ahead goal. "I was thinking if we scored before the halftime, I had a feeling we would win the game. The chances that we had, we had allowed the chances, then more than UE, we just had to finish it." DLSU, which had a dismal sixth-place finish last year, has already shown strides of improvement since the start of Season 80, and their coach has already been noticing it. "Attitude. That's it. They had showed much more better attitude than last year. And I'm much more satisfied with that." Due to the win, La Salle obtained their 9th point, moving to three wins and a loss, while UE sits at a win, a draw, and two losses for 4 points. -- Follow this writer on Twitter, @philipptionary......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 22nd, 2018

After silver finish in Asian cycling meet, Rex Krog on track for even better things

A promising future awaits Rex Luis Krog, the Asian Cycling Championships juniors road silver medalist, as his team, Go For Gold, and PhilCycling start charting his career following his impressive performance in Myanmar. Krog was presented to media yesterday, and the 17-year-old from Caloocan City, who traces his roots to Nueva Ecija was modest bask in his accomplishment. “Katulad po ng sinasabi nila, marami pa akong kakaining bigas. Pero okay lang naman po ‘yun kasi alam ko naman po kailangan ko pa rin mag-improve overall,” Krog told the event at the Kabisera Restaurant in BGC-Taguig. Krog finished second behind a Japanese and ahead of a Thai rider in last Saturday’s 103-km road race that drew 48 of the best youngsters in Asia at the Myanmar capital of Nay Pyi Taw. The medal was a rarity for Philippine cycling on the Asian stage. Rustom Lim clinched a bronze medal also in juniors competition in 2011. Jeremy Go, Vice President for Marketing of Powerball Marketing and Logistics Corp., the company behind the noble Go for Gold project, and his coach, Ednalyn Calitis Hualda, were all praises for Krog’s passion for cycling. Hualda disclosed that Krog, son of former national team members Marita Lucas and the late Edward Krog, is already being groomed to join this year’s UCI Road World Cycling Championships in Innsbruck, Austria, from September 22 to 30 pending the green light from PhilCycling. Go said overseas training and exposure awaits Krog, who at five-foot-10 looks genetically perfect for both road and track events of cycling. “Natural climber siya pero sa pagpalit ng gear, lumalabas rin ang skills niya sa sprint. ‘Pag matangkad ka rin, advantage na ‘yun sa track,” Go said. PhilCycling President Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino said Krog’s future looks bright especially with his attitude on training and competition. “Given the proper training and program, Luis will be a star,” Tolentino said. Go said they will make sure that the up-and-coming rider will be at his best form. “With the kind support given by PhilCycling and UCI, we’re looking for a specialized training for him in Korea or Switzerland,” he said. Currently a senior high school student at the Lorraine Technical School of Caloocan City in Monumento, Krog, whose grandfather is German, has all the makings of becoming a future world champion, according to Hualda. “Motivated palagi si Luis at ‘yun ang pinakamaganda sa kanya. Maganda rin ang kanyang decision-making At kapag ang isang atleta naniniwala sa coach, anything is possible” she said. “Motivated palagi si Luis at ‘yun ang pinakamaganda sa kanya. Maganda rin ang kanyang decision-making At kapag ang isang atleta naniniwala sa coach, anything is possible” Hualda said......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 15th, 2018